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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Click or Treat

Published June 15, 2010 12:33 PM by Cheryl McEvoy

There are two sides to every story. Last week, we shared some of the risks text messaging poses to hand health and what organizations are doing to help teens avoid injury. This week, we take a different look at the texting trend--one that works with, instead of against, the need to be in the loop all the time.

In our June 14 issue, "Cool Tools" explains how popular teen activities like Facebooking, tweeting and texting can be incorporated into physical therapy routines. Between school, sports and socializing, teens are stretching themselves thin. But what they really need to stretch is their bodies--especially when recovering from a sports-related injury.

Fortunately, as Stefanie Reid, MPT, found, teens like to multitask. Devoting a half hour to at-home therapy may be out of the question, but ask teens to do it while checking their e-mail and you could have a hook. Yes, encouraging teens to text while they stretch can actually improve program compliance, according to Reid.

Is it embracing text messaging or just resigning to the trend? I'm not sure. At any rate, it seems to work, and judging by the sample exercises in our photo gallery (see "Creative Solutions for Busy Patients"), they're not skimping on the challenge.

Now let's be honest. If a problem is serious enough to see a physical therapist, teens should be able to carve out enough time to do the necessary stretches, for their health's sake. But if they can throw in a few side-lying clam shells while posting photos on Facebook, it certainly couldn't hurt.

How do you promote patient compliance, especially in teens? Do you think texting while stretching is a good idea, or could it promote bad habits?  

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